• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Quick Bits

I’m _just_ about to take off for the Historical Novel Society conference in San Diego, but wanted to remind everyone that I’ll be doing a signing at the Book Rack in Mesa on June 22nd, from 1-3 PM.

The Book Rack
1752 Signal Butte Rd.Suite 108
Mesa, AZ 85209

Our major crossroads are Signal Butte and the US60 and we are located in the Walmart Parking lot next to Cold Stone Creamery and Panda Express.

Our phone number is 480-380-0044.

And yes, to those who’ve been asking, I _will_ be at Bubonicon in late August.

I have a load of free Stuff described as “downloadables” (wallpapers, screen savers and the like) by Random House, which I’ll put up here  as soon as I get a chance–way up past mid-eyeball in finishing SCOTTISH PRISONER, which will likely be done wiithin a week! {crossing fingers}

And then…I have an informal poll question for y’all, which I’ll try to put up tomorrow night, i I’m not too wiped from a six-hour drive, a dinner cruise, and a dress {ahem} rehearsal in the bar for the Late-Night Sex-Scene readings. (I normally do these in my nightwear, but Chris Humphreys, who is doing a literary three-way with me and Gillian Bagwell, tells me he requires a sword, one of which I have borrowed from my son.)    SCOTTISH PRISONER is a two-man book–the men in question being Jamie and Lord John.  At the moment, it begins with Jamie’s story, with a scene that caused my husband to write, “Can you even _print_ this?” in the margin when he read it.   Now, I’ll definitely use that scene {g]–but not sure if I should lead off with it.  It might cause new readers either to slam the book shut and throw it back on the table–or rush to the cash register with it.   But I _could_ begin with Lord John’s part of the story, which is also very good, but a lot less…er…{cough}.  But I’ll show you both beginnings and you can give me your opinions, if you’d be so kind!

Manana!  (You’ll have to imagine the tilde over the first “n” there.  I stink at putting in diacritical marks.)

More Tasty Fictional Food!

Well, there’s nothing absolutely fictional about bridies; they’re a perfectly legitimate item of Scottish cuisine {g}—but I’m Much Obliged to Theresa Carle-Sanders, professional chef and dabbler in historical foodstuffs, for her newest venture: Brianna’s Bridies, as described in DRUMS OF AUTUMN.

“Yon fellow wi’ the cast in one eye,” he said in a subdued bellow, indicating the gentleman in question by pointing with his chin. “What d’ye say to him, Brianna?”
“I’d say he looks like the Boston Strangler,” she muttered, then louder, shouting into her cousin’s ear, “He looks like an ox! No!”
“He’s strong, and he looks honest!”
Brianna thought the gentleman in question looked too stupid to be dishonest, but refrained from saying so, merely shaking her head emphatically.
Young Jamie shrugged philosophically and resumed his scrutiny of the would-be bondsmen, walking around those who took his particular interest and peering at them closely, in a way she might have thought exceedingly rude had a number of other potential employers not been doing likewise.
“Bridies! Hot bridies!” A high-pitched screech cut through the rumble and racket of the hall, and Brianna turned to see an old woman elbowing her way robustly through the crowd, a steaming tray hung round her neck and a wooden spatula in hand.
The heavenly scent of fresh hot dough and spiced meat cut through the other pungencies in the hall, noticeable as the old woman’s calling. It had been a long time since breakfast, and Brianna dug in her pocket, feeling saliva fill her mouth.


Theresa’s done a wonderful rendition of bridies, with notes on a modern version (substituting vegetable shortening for the traditional suet, the latter being hard to locate in most grocery stores), including a vegetarian take for non-carnivores. Go here for pictures (including some from Theresa’s recent trip to the Highlands), cooking/baking instructions, and recipes!

AuthorChat Tonight!

I’m doing an AuthorChat online with Brenda Novak this evening–5:30 PM PDT/8:30 PM EDT. come and join us!

I can’t get the widget with the “join” link to show up here, and don’t have time to mess with it.  So–for the sake of convenience–here is the link to the widget.  See you online tonight!


What’s your line?

Recently, I saw a thread in which people presented/discussed their favorite sentences/lines from the OUTLANDER/Lord John books. Everyone has their favorites, from the funny to the touching, the dramatic, or the philosophical. And sometimes just because they like the way it sounds. {g}

Here are just a few that I’ve seen quoted as people’s favorites:

“…but it all comes right in the end. So it did, I thought–though often not in any expected way.”

“…for I was gromished from the fall and my right ankle gruppit–and was just about to call once more when I heard sounds of a rare hochmagandy…”

“You’re no verra peaceful, Sassenach… but I like ye fine.”

“And what was the ransom, then, that would buy a man’s soul, and deliver my darling from the power of the dog?”

“And if thee hunts at night, thee will come home.”

“Holy God.”

“And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire—I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.”

“Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”

“That’s all right,” I assured him. “We’re married. Share and share aline. One flesh; the priest said so.”

“Only you. Because ye will not let me lie – and yet ye love me.”

“Whatever (your feelings) are, though, they must be exigent, to cause you to contemplate such drastic expedients.”

“Don’t buy any peaches.”

“On your right, man.”

“Ye scream like a lassie,” he said, eyes returning to his work.

“Come to me, Claire, daughter of Henry, strength of my heart…”

“Stand by my side, Roger, son of Jeremiah, son of my house…”

“You are my courage, as I am your conscience,” he whispered. “You are my heart—and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone.”

“That’s the Third Law of Thermodynamics,” I said. “No,” he said. “That’s faith.”

“What is it about ye that makes men want to take their breeks off within five minutes of meetin’ ye?”(coupled with) “Well, if you don’t know, my dear…I’m sure no one does.”

“Ian, … Ye, sound like your mother. Stop”

” I canna tell whether ye mean to compliment my virility, Sassenach, or insult my morals, but I dinna care much for either suggestion.”

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

“I am the son of a great man”.

“I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last to cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I’ve served ye well.”

“Dinna be afraid. There are the two of us now.”

I do (naturally enough) like all of those, but my own particular favorite is probably the last sentence from THE FIERY CROSS:

“When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’-ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”

Now, I like that one particularly, because I didn’t write it. It’s something my husband actually said to me one day, quite casually, looking up from his Wall Street Journal (minus the Scottish accent). I do know a good line when I hear one, though.

(Doug, having seen this, says he appreciates the credit, but would rather I mention that he is the source of the advice on how to get rid of crabs (of the pubic lice variety) that Murtagh offers in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER.  This is true.   The part where Jamie is teaching his young nephew not to pee on his feet, remarking, “It’s hard when your belly-button sticks out more than your cock does,” is also one of Doug’s lines, along with the bit where Jamie (after a drunken night) wakes up, sniffs his oxter and remarks that he smells like a dead boar.  And people wonder where writers get their material…some of us marry it.)

People always do ask me “Which book is your favorite?”—and to me, it’s all One Huge Thing, so I can’t really pick. But I’m in the habit of saying, “The one I’m working on now—because that’s the one where I don’t yet know everything.”
I’m now in the Final Frenzy phase of SCOTTISH PRISONER (this is where I know Everything, and it’s a matter of how long I can sit at the computer without interruption and/or stopping to eat {g}), so at the moment, I’m in love with this book. Just for fun, here are a few of the lines that I particularly like from it:

“I haven’t seen a cove that sick since me uncle Morris what was a sailor in a merchant-man come down with the hockogrockle,” said Tom, shaking his head. “And he died of it.”

“He at once felt better, having taken action, and smoothing his crumpled neckcloth, went in search of fried sardines.”

“And then I heard other noises—screeching and skellochs, and the screaming of horses, aye, but not the noise of battle. More like folk who are roaring drunk—and the horses, too.”

“Distracted by the vision of amphibians in their thousands locked in slime-wrapped sexual congress amid the dark waters, he caught his foot in a root and fell heavily.”

“Abbot Michael was talking of neutral things: the weather (unusually good and a blessing for the lambs), the state of the chapel roof (holes so big it looked as though a pig had walked across the roof, and a full-grown pig, too), the day (so fortunate that it was Thursday and not Friday, as there would be meat for the mid-day dinner, and of course Jamie would be joining them, he would enjoy Brother Bertram’s version of a sauce, it had no particular name and was of an indistinct color—purple, the abbot would have called it, but it was well known he had no sense of color and had to ask the sacristan which cope to wear in ordinary time, as he could not tell red from green and took it only on faith that there were such colors in the world, but Brother Fionn—he’d have met Brother Fionn, the clerk outside?—assured him it was so, and surely a man with a face like that would never lie, you had only to look at the size of his nose to know that), and other things to which Jamie could nod or smile or make a noise. “

“Behind him, he thought he heard the echo of wild geese calling, and despite himself, looked back.”

[That's the cover for the Dutch edition of SCOTTISH PRISONER, and if you can figure out what it's supposed to be, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.]

News from Mike Gibb

Mike Gibb (lyricist/playwright) has an announcement regarding OUTLANDER: The Musical:

“Delighted to announce that New York based writer Jill Santoriello is to join Kevin Walsh and myself (he means him, Mike, not me, Diana) in developing the libretto for a stage version of Outlander The Musical, based on the hugely successful series of books by Diana Gabaldon. Diana is also very happy to welcome Jill aboard.

Jill Santoriello is best known as the writer of the book, lyrics and music for the Award winning musical A Tale of Two Cities, which was staged at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway in 2008 and which recently enjoyed a two month run at the Hale Centre Theatre in Salt Lake City

For further information on Outlander the Musical and to hear song samples from the concept CD go to www.outlanderthemusical.com. The web site for A Tale Of Two Cities, where you can listen to samples of the music, is to be found at www.talemusical.com ”

[photo:  Allan Scott-Douglas, who sings the role of Jamie Fraser on the OUTLANDER: The Musical concept CD.]

Quick Note: May 20th, Authors and Appetizers

Just a quick update on wheres and whens:

May 20 –that’s THIS FRIDAY—I’ll be doing a brief appearance (and a longer signing {g}) at the Scottsdale Public Library’s “Authors and Appetizers” event. 6 PM, Civic Center Library. More info here. http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/

How Do You Read?

How do you read?

I get frequent questions—from readers and interviewers—asking me whether I read. My initial response is always, “What, are you crazy?”, but I usually suppress this in favor of something more politic, like, “How can anybody not read?”

People do (not read, I mean), of course, horrifying as this concept is (my husband once had an employee who told him that her daughter had to read a book for school and so she had rented a copy for the child. Having been in her house, I’d noticed that she owned no books (totally creepy), but to have no idea of what or where the public library is?). But come on—to ask a professional novelist whether he or she reads?

Now, I do hear from other novelists who say that they can’t read books in their own genre, or can’t read while actively writing, and that makes some sense (I don’t read time-travel books, myself). But if you don’t read something, how do you refine your sensibilities, improve your craft, or merely fill up your creative well by listening to the lyrical song of someone else’s words?

Let’s put it this way: If there are any novelists who just don’t read, I probably don’t want to read what they write.

A refinement of the “Do you read?” question comes along every now and then, and this one is kind of interesting: “HOW do you read? I used to love reading, but now I have a job, kids, a house, etc., and I just seem to have no time to read anymore. I know you have a busy life, too, so I just wanted to ask, how do you manage to read?”

Now, that’s a question of logistics, isn’t it? So I took a look at “how” I read, physically. Because I do read pretty much all the time, and normally consume 3-4 books a week (lots more, when traveling), not counting whatever I’m reading for research. So how does it work?

Well, for starters, I always have at least one book within reach. If you’re accustomed to only reading in your favorite chair, when you have two or three hours of leisure, with a good light on and a glass of sweet tea beside you, then yeah, having a family is going to inhibit you some. I read everywhere. All the time.

I have a book on the counter while I’m cooking; I can’t (or shouldn’t {cough}) read while chopping vegetables, but I can certainly read while tearing up lettuce, sautéing garlic, or browning meat—and once something’s on the stove or in the oven, I just need to be there. No problem in reading while waiting for things to brown, cook, simmer, etc. (actually, I do pushups on my kitchen counter while reading during kitchen lag-time—I can read the back Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal and do 75 pushups (the sissy kind; I have weak wrists) while waiting for the dogs to eat their breakfast. (Why am I waiting for dogs to eat? Because the fat one eats faster and will muscle his brother out of the last quarter of his meal if I’m not watching)).

I have dogs; my son has dogs, and brings them down with him when he comes to visit. I take the rest of the Wall Street Journal to my office with me and whenever the dogs need to go out, I bring a chunk of it along—or if I’ve finished the paper, I grab my Kindle and read whatever’s up on that while the hounds burrow for gophers or play Questing Beast in the long grass and tumbleweeds.

I have a book on the bathroom counter and read while brushing teeth, applying sunscreen, and performing ablutions. I take the book into my closet and read while I’m getting dressed.

I try to walk five miles a day (and manage it about four days a week; get 2-3 miles on other days), with and without dogs. I have audiobooks on my iPod, and listen to these while walking (on my second re-listen of the entire Aubrey/Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brian—great books, one of my all-time favorite series).

If I have books for review (I do occasional reviews for a newspaper) or waiting for possible blurbs (there’s a small stack of ARCs from publishers), I pick one up whenever I go downstairs and take it along on errands (always take a book to a doctor’s appointment or the post office, is my advice).

Poetry books, and nonfiction books that aren’t for research, but just interesting—I’m reading Simon Winchester’s KRAKATOA at the moment—I leave in the bathroom, and read in small, digestible chunks. That enables me to comprehend everything easily, as I’m seldom dealing with more than a page at a time. {g} Have had KRAKATOA in there for two weeks; about halfway through the book, and now know all kinds of fascinating stuff about plate tectonics, with THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS and John Mark Eberhart’s poetry collection, NIGHT WATCH, waiting for their turn.

The only time (other than traveling) I really read without doing something else is for a brief period after dinner, while my husband watches TV, and for a still briefer period after I’ve tucked him in bed, when the dogs and I lie down on the Taos bed, and I read for 10-30 minutes before falling asleep.

It’s sort of like the way I write. Not in concentrated stretches of 4-5 hours (I do know some writers who claim that’s the only way they can write, and more power to them), but in stretches of an hour at a time, two or three or four times a day (depending where I am in the course of a book; toward the end, I really do write nonstop for ten or twelve hours—bar bathroom breaks (during which I read) and meals (ditto)—but that phase luckily doesn’t last long).

For today: Just finished Charlaine Harris’s new Sookie Stackhouse novel, DEAD RECKONING (good as always) this morning, 35% of the way through Anne Perry’s TREASON AT LISSON GROVE, which I picked up right afterward, four more pages about subduction zones in KRAKATOA, and about 25 pages into the ARC of a thriller off the blurb pile. Plus entertaining stuff from WSJ about the medical maladies of historical characters and why birth-control pills make women marry less-masculine men (also good op-ed piece by a British writer on pusillanimous response of Brits to killing of bin Laden).

Now mind, I don’t watch television. That helps.

Quick Question – 20th-Anniversary Edition

Well, it’s like this:  The new, snazzy, all-signing, all-dancing (well, singing, at least) 20th-anniversary edition of OUTLANDER will be released on July 5th.

On July 5th, I personally will be traveling from New York to Laramie, WY (which is one of those places that you can’t get there from here, so it will take all day, starting before dawn) in order to be the keynote speaker at the Sir Walter Scott Symposium held at the University of Wyoming. What with one thing and another (ThrillerFest, for one–it’s even more impossible to get _back_ from Laramie to New York, taking all night as well as part of the next day), I won’t be back in Arizona until sometime on the 10th.

Now, The Poisoned Pen bookstore has graciously offered to host an event for the launch of this book, if I’d like. The question, though, is really–would _you_ guys like this?

I’d be happy to spend an evening with you and sign your books (and perhaps read a few excerpts from the upcoming SCOTTISH PRISONER and the so-far-untitled Book Eight (I really must come up with a title one of these days), but I don’t know how much demand there might be for Diana Live {g}, given the nature of this particular book. I mean, it’s a _beautiful_ book, and stuffed full of entertaining extra material–but it’s not a brand-new novel, either.

Let me know what you think, and I’ll tell the bookstore in a couple of days.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (and other news for May)

“”This is a morning my father never saw,” Jamie said, still so softly that I heard it as much through the walls of his chest, as with my ears. “The world and each day in it is a gift, mo chridhe-no matter what tomorrow may be.”

I sighed deeply and turned my head, to rest my cheek against his chest. He reached over gently and wiped my nose with a fold of his shirt.

“And as for taking stock,” he added practically, “I’ve all my teeth, none of my parts are missing, and my cock still stands up by itself in the morning. It could be worse.”

–The Fiery Cross, Chapter 58: “Happy Birthday To You.” Copyright 2001 Diana Gabaldon.

HAPPY MAY DAY! And many, many thanks to all of you who have sent me messages wishing James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser a happy 290th birthday. {g}

My husband was just asking me if there was a reason why I chose May 1 for Jamie’s birthday. In fact, there is—or there are, rather. To begin with, I thought it might have something to do with Claire’s passage through the stones, which happened on Beltane (April 30). (As it was, it didn’t really seem to have much to do with that, but that’s sort of what I had in mind to begin with.)

Beyond that—I knew Jamie was a Taurus, so obviously born sometime in May (ask me how I know this; my husband and all three children are born in May (this is the fault of Arizona State University, where I used to be a professor, and which said (at the time), “You can have all the maternity leave you want, but we aren’t going to pay you for any of it.” To which I replied, “Fine. I’m on a 9-month academic-year contract, and you don’t pay me in the summers anyway. I’ll have babies in May.” (A Ph.D. in Biology has to be good for something, after all))). My husband’s birthday is May 3, but I didn’t think it was right to make him share his birthday with Jamie, so….there you are. May 1.

(I have had assorted people cast Jamie’s horoscope, and assure me that yes, indeed, he is a Taurus. I never doubted this.)

Anyway, moving right along here—in Other May News:

LEPRECON 37 – May 6-8

I will be appearing at LepreCon 37, an sf/f con held in Tempe, AZ next weekend. The con runs May 6-8, but I’ll be there only on the 7th and 8th. The location is the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, and here is the con’s website.

I’ll be doing the following appearances:

(panel) LIT – HOW TO DO A READING  —   Sat 10a-11a, Joshua Tree

(panel) LIT – DIY SOCIAL MEDIA   –  Sat noon-1p, Xavier

READING   –  Sat 2p-230p, Boardroom

AUTOGRAPHING  —   Sat 230p-330p, Dealers Room

(panel) LIT – OUR FAVORITE MILITARY SF  –  Sun 10a-11a, Xavier

(panel) LIT/MED – BOOKS TO MOVIES  —   Sun 3p-4p, Xavier

Now, on my way home Saturday from LepreCon, I’ll be stopping at the COMIC ZONE bookstore for a quick one-hour signing, as part of their “Free Comics!” Day festivities:

Comic Zone
5909 N. Granite Reef, rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
480-483-2685 for more info

This appearance will naturally be focused mostly on THE EXILE, as it’s a graphic novel, but if y’all have other books you’d like signed, I’d be happy to do that.

KABAM! (Kingman Area Books Are Magic) –aka the Kingman (AZ) Book Festival – May 12-14

I couldn’t begin to remember what-all I’ll be doing for this festival, but it ranges from school visits and public autographings to panels, readings, and all sorts of stuff. I’ll be there for three days, and busy most of the time, let’s leave it at that. {g}


This is a nice event, held at the Scottsdale Public Library, wherein they invite a number of different authors, each of whom does a quick 7-10 minute talk and is then available to chat and sign books—and they provide food!

(There are several websites where you can find more detail and/or buy tickets: here’s one.)

Right, see you at one of these events—and if not…I’ll post the schedule for June/July/August a little later. Meanwhile, in Other Interesting News:


I’ve explained (roughly ten million times) why THE FIERY CROSS and ABOSA were not available via Audible.com—owing to restriction in the contract with Bantam Audio, who do the (disgustingly eviscerated, bloody mangled shreds) abridged audio versions, we were not allowed to sell the unabridged versions through retail outlets while the original license (ten years from date of print publication) was in effect.

The licenses to earlier books have expired and been revoked, thus preventing those abridged excrescences from being sold any longer, and ECHO was fortunately not covered under the earlier contract (so there has never been and never will be an abridged audio version). Great. Well, THE FIERY CROSS license expires this November, and the instant it does, FIERY CROSS will also be available via Audible.com and anywhere else audiobooks are sold.

The license for ABOSA, though, doesn’t expire until 2014. We tried to get Bantam Audio to allow us to sell the unabridged version now (without revoking their abridged one), but they wouldn’t budge. So—in order to make the whole series available in unabridged form as soon as possible—we (me and my agent) did them a deal. They go on selling the abridged version until 2014 (at which point we cut them off at the knees), but meanwhile we release the unabridged version in retail markets—and share the income with them.

So that’s why ABOSA is now available and FIERY CROSS isn’t yet. It wasn’t worth doing a deal to get the unabridged version into retail outlets six months earlier than it will happen anyway. But come November, ALL the OUTLANDER and LORD JOHN books will be available in Unabridged versions through any retail outlet you care to use!

April 16, 1746

Today is the 265th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. In honor of that, I thought I’d just post links to the two blogposts I did a couple of years ago, when I was privileged to attend the dedication of the new Visitors Centre at Culloden.



Urram do na mairbh.